Toronto-born paddleboarder with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome begins crossing Lake Huron with the goal of crossing all five Great Lakes in one summer

If Mike Shoreman reaches the shores of Ontario on Monday, he will become the first person with a disability to paddleboard on Lake Huron.

Around 5 a.m. Sunday, the Toronto-born and raised 39-year-old departed from Harbor Beach, Michigan, to begin its 73 kilometer journey to Goderich, Ontario.

Shoreman hopes to become the first person since 1988 to cross the Great Lakes in one summer, when Canadian Vicki Keith successfully swam all five.

Lake Huron will be Shoreman’s second crossing this year. In late May, Shoreman paddled from Sturgeon Point, NY, across Lake Erie to Crystal Beach, Ont.

Shoreman has been paddleboarding for more than a decade, a sport that was just beginning to gain popularity in its early days and a passion that was suddenly cut short when he began to suffer from pain, dizziness and vertigo in October. 2018.

He was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a chronic neurological disease caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus which affects the nervous system. For Shoreman, the condition was severe, causing mobility, sensory and speech issues, and temporarily paralyzing half of his face.

It’s the same condition that pop singer Justin Bieber, raised in Stratford, Ont., revealed he was diagnosed with in a video he posted to Instagram on Friday.

Doctors told Shoreman he was unlikely to paddleboard again, but in the summer of 2019 Shoreman defied the odds and got back to work. He was later recognized as the International Paddleboard Man of the Year by paddleboard magazine SUP Connect in 2020 and 2021.

An ambassador for mental health organization Jack.org, Shoreman’s Crossings aims to raise awareness of mental well-being among young people.

It is expected to land in Goderich around noon on Monday.

Shoreman plans to start paddling on Lake Michigan around the end of June when the weather permits.

With Star files

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